ESQ&A: Idris Elba

As Luther returns, Hollywood's coolest man talks style essentials, avoiding heartbreak and how to have the night out of your life

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He's tackled Baltimore's finest in The Wire, fought for justice in Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom and cleaned up London's back alleys in Luther (back on screens this week) - but how will the actor/DJ/hustler known as "Big Driis" handle our quick-fire Esquire ESQ&A?

Let's find out.

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What item should every man have in his wardrobe?
A good tie. Preferably a great tie.

What would you save from a burning building?
Hard drives with all my music on, and probably my laptop and my DJ equipment.

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Which moment in your career would you say you’re most proud of so far?
Acting-wise, I’d say playing Nelson Mandela. That was my proudest moment. As a producer, watching Luther come alive and it going global. I’m proud of that.

What about musically?
A couple of things. mi Mandela the album. That was my first album where I fully dived in as a musician. My second season in Ibiza as a DJ. That was a big, big moment for me because it was the moment that people took me seriously as a DJ in the Mecca of DJs.

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If you could give advice to your 20-year-old self, what would you say?
I’d say ‘take time to know her’. Just ‘cause you save yourself a lot of heartache. Just take time to know her.

Have you ever cheated death?
Yes a couple of times. One time this geezer was having a barney with his wife and I said ‘ah mate, leave it alone’ and then he pulled out a gun. So I sort of let him calm down, and he did calm down. But he definitely would have popped me in the face I think. This was in America.

What’s your favourite city in the world?
London I know very well and I feel a part of its fabric. I love the people and I love its diversity. Accra [the capital of Ghana] is just beautiful, it’s warm, the people are super-friendly there, and it’s just expanding and blowing up and I love it. And I'm very close to New York City. I had one of the hardest times I've ever had as an actor and I learnt a shit load out there.

What’s your favourite place to eat and your order?
I don’t have a favourite place to eat. My favourite meal, though, is steak and eggs with a bit of spinach on the side. In each one of those cities I’ve had really, really good steak.

What’s your drink of choice?
It depends. I love a Guinness, I love a nice whisky. Jim Beam sometimes. I think my favourite drink is probably a nice beer.

What's the best age to be?
My favourite two ages are my mid 30s and early 40s. So there are 10 years of my live that has been the best age. I had a great time in my 20s but I didn’t really know my arse from my elbow. But now I’m growing into myself somewhat, and I don’t feel much older than 20 to be honest.

What's your hidden talent?
I’ve got loads of hidden talents. One that's emerging slowly is photography. I’m actually a pretty decent photographer.

What's your desert island film, book and album?
Film: The Bob Marley documentary, Marley. Album: Colombo by raggae band Kulcha. Book: The Alchemist. It’s a great journey book. 

What's the best night out you've ever had?
There’s so many, I can't pin point it down to one. I can’t remember them, but I would say you always need good company and randomness.

Idris Elba is the new brand ambassador for the Jagaur XE. jaguar.co.uk. Watch Idris driving from London to Berlin here and catch the final film of Idris' road trip here.

 
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MORE ESQ&A:

Oscar Isaac
Joel Edgerton
Chiwetel Ejiofor
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